Here I am again. And it’s good to be back. Updating a blog regularly during school semester, especially the first one, where everything goes by in a haze-like carousel ride, was not something I should have even thought of doing. Yet it’s such a shame, because it is when so many new things are happening, so many “I should write this down” moments. I guess I’ll have to guard them safely with me, until I find the energy, the time, the motivation, and the memory to write them down, some day.
The first semester is over, and although I am relieved it’s all over, I am, more than anything, thankful.
Each of the things I am thankful for could be a post on its own, and one of the things I am thankful for is to have learned.
Sure, I learned stuff in class, but I think I have learned most about myself. Yes, this happens, it seems that no matter how old you are, you always learn new things about yourself. You discover some aspects of yourself you did not know you had, which is usually less than pleasant. But I guess it’s just as important to know those aspects if you want to have a chance at changing them for the better.
I learned that I am far more conservative and far more ‘Korean’ than I thought I would ever be. And I wonder, did the past 10 years leave their mark on me? Or have I always been this person, even before Korea?
Going back and forth between two countries, two cultures, two places, is a tricky thing. I miss things I used to hate, I long for things I never thought were important. I understand the value of certain things I despised, I doubt the impact of certain things I trusted.
I miss the bustling of the busy streets of Seoul, where people push you without saying sorry, even if it’s just for the sake of giving them the evil eye and cursing them under my breath. I wouldn’t mind having subways come every 2-3 minutes, fully knowing on the other hand, that the drivers’ welfare is under no consideration whatsoever. I used to sigh with exasperation at the silence of many Korean students, but I now understand, a little, of why humility and modesty are still considered as virtues there.
And I fully know that I will be annoyed by these same things if I go back to Korea. I will miss the ‘thank yous’ and ‘sorrys’ and smiles, I will criticize Koreans for always wanting to be as comfortable as possible, without even recognizing the sacrifices of others for that to happen, I will point at their complacency as the reason for the lack of improvement.
I do wonder if there ever comes a point where I stop comparing the two countries and accept them for what/who they are.